Sunday, Aug 13, 2023

‘It was a huge relief to be able to hand in my resignation’

Why quitting her well-paying job gave a college professor a sense of freedom

sarah lall independence daySarah Lall is a researcher
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‘It was a huge relief to be able to hand in my resignation’
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Small acts of everyday freedom go a long way in establishing who we are as a people, and who we may want to become as a society and a nation. Ahead of Independence Day, we bring you stories of little acts of defiance, endless notes of possibilities.

Sarah Lall, 41

Researcher, Chennai

I quit my job in May this year after having worked as a college professor for the past 12 years. What I loved about my job was the vibrant atmosphere of students milling around and the opportunity to nurture curious minds.

However, I found that with the passage of time, as I grew as a person, my career goals were simultaneously evolving, too. I had just completed my PhD and decided to make a fresh career start in full-time research. It was not an easy decision to make, but it felt right.

My decision to take this plunge was cemented by another joyous life event: the arrival of my daughter. When I told people I was quitting, I was given a whole lot of well-meaning advice on the lines of — “Don’t quit a well-paying job, keep your future financial stability in mind” or “Your child will eventually start going to school, you won’t know what do with yourself then.”

Dwelling on these questions was deeply troubling. Do I hold on to a job that no longer fulfills my career aspirations just for financial stability? Will I still be considered employable if there is a break in my career?

There were no easy answers to this, but I realised that at this stage in my life and career, this decision was either now or never!

It was a huge relief to be able to hand in my resignation. I was also cognizant of the fact that I had the luxury of doing this because my husband has a stable job.


Yes, the future may have ups and downs and we will take life as it comes, but for now, I am grateful that I have the freedom to choose a job that gives me flexibility, in which I can prioritise the well-being of my family and myself over the rat race, and opt for a career path that aligns with my goals, even if it is not well- travelled or popular.

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Now that I get to spend so much more time at home, I can see how happy this makes my daughter. Above all, I am at peace and, for me, that is freedom.

First published on: 12-08-2023 at 11:11 IST
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